One place, one goal, and one nation.
I recently joined 700 other youth and adult leaders from across the Philippines to learn about and help make an impact on the Sustainable Development Goals.
As an intern representative of World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific (WYAAP), my experience in that event changed the way I view things. I was surrounded by experienced, outgoing, and youthful student leaders who share a common goal: ignite change.
But this isn’t just any change, but rather, a change that will benefit all. A change that will shape the next generation’s future, and a change that will foster development, inclusivity, and the interest of the Filipino people.
Aside from the usual activities of attending the talks and encouraging the other participants to become WYA members, I was also chosen to be interviewed on behalf of WYAAP.
While I was waiting for my turn, a student-leader was asked about his message to the youth in order for them to create the change they want to achieve within their nation. He emphasized how the youth should stop being apathetic with what is happening around them if they really want to achieve the betterment of this nation. With his message, I came to realize that he was right. If we really want to make things better in this country, we should not only care for our own interests, but we should also consider the people that surround us.
We must not look at the citizens and this country as a tool to gain power and riches, but we must see everything and everyone in this country as an equal individual who shares the same idea on how the country should be. Hence, for me, it is alarming that issues such as extra-judicial killings, budget cuts for human rights, and even the practice of hazing, among many others, are on the rise in the country.
We may not be directly affected by these issues. We (yes, myself included) may not know people who have fallen victim to these injustices, but, at the very least, we are asked to care. We need to give importance to these issues because we all share a common humanity.
And so, as our Philippine hero once said, the youth is the hope of our nation.
I hope we stay true to that, continuing to be inspired and serving as the catalysts in order to achieve the common good for the betterment and solidarity of every nation.
Written by Cesca Marcelli Balasbas, a current intern at the WYA Asia Pacific office.